Eurobodalla Shire Council has granted $25,000 to the River of Art festival to create large-scale street art murals that celebrate the community’s resilience and renewal after the Black Summer bushfires.
The murals will remain as permanent public artworks, with two in Batemans Bay, two in Narooma and one in Moruya.
During the festival’s nine days from 18-27 September, the collaborative project between the three towns’ chambers of commerce and the Narooma Oyster Festival will reflect a theme of resilience and renewal.
“This mural art event, which we’re calling REVIVE, will be an enduring symbol of the strength and vitality of our communities in recovering from the impact of the past summer’s bushfires,” said River of Art co-chair Di Jay.
Artist Tim de Haan – aka ‘Phibs’ – will also be working with the River of Art REVIVE project as lead artist, curator and project manager. He has been a prominent figure in the Australian street art scene for 30 years and his work can be found throughout Australia and internationally.
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“Mural artists will be invited to create site-specific artwork, adding to the existing public artwork throughout the Eurobodalla region,” said Mr de Haan.
Renowned local Indigenous artist Cheryl Davison, whose work can be found at the National Museum and the Art Gallery of NSW, has already been working on the artistic design for one of the murals, which will tell the story of Wagonga Inlet as an important source of food – particularly oysters – for local Aboriginal people.
Ms Davison and Mr de Haan have worked together before, creating the Narooma Pool mural, which depicts Gulaga.
“All the murals will be integrated into the Eurobodalla Art Trail, which forms part of the festival’s annual program,” said Ms Jay. “This year, the community will be invited to watch, comment and engage with these artworks as they are created.
“A really exciting part of REVIVE will be watching the way the art emerges from the artist’s brush during the course of the festival. We’ll be filming the work as it progresses so people who can’t visit the sites will be able to watch the whole process on our website. We’ll also be doing updates on Facebook and Instagram.
“Not only is this a fantastic permanent addition to our region’s artistic life, it’s outdoors and COVID-19 safe.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had to slim down our festival this year because of COVID-19, but REVIVE is a fabulous initiative despite the restrictions.”
The River of Art Festival will feature the River of Art Prize, Open Studios, workshops and exhibitions, and the new REVIVE event. The program, which will be finalised in late August, and further information can be found on the River of Art website.
The River of Art Festival is funded by the NSW Government, Destination NSW and Eurobodalla Shire Council.